Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Out of the mouths

My kid used the word "worshed" the other day and I realized that I have several peculiar verbal tics. That's one of them.

For the English word to describe what you do with dirty clothes I say "Did you put your socks in the worsh?"

I don't know why I do this. I don't call folding money "corsh" or a mixture of meat and potatoes "horsh". It's just how I pronounce the word wash, and I don't remember why the hell I do it.

Now that I have had to actually think about it I'm embarassed by it and have consciously tried to amend my speech to the correct pronunciation, "wash".

Now that I think of it, I realize that I've picked up a couple of these odd verbal tics.

I use the word "arsed" in the sense of "worked up over" or "bothered to"; "It isn't something I got arsed enough about to get done...". This is a Britishism, and I suspect I picked it up from listening/reading about English soccer.

When I'm exasperated about something I will often say "Jesus wept!" as a way of saying "What a ridiculous fuck-up!" I do know wherte I got this; from reading that the two words are the shortest verse in the Bible. I liked that, and somehow it found its way into my speech.

If someone tells me something obvious, or something that I have already agreed to, I will often reply "There you go." (or if in rough company "There you fucking go."). This was my old drill sergeant SSG Layne's reaction to anything he agreed with (spoken, by the way, in his very distinctive Caribbean accent with the accent on the first word: "Dere you fokkin' go!") and it has stuck with me.

When I was little we had a cat named "Possum", and ever since all cats (when speaking to the cat) are "possum", as in "Who's da sweet fluffly li'l possum?" (said in babytalk voice while rubbing cat's chin).
The cats don't seem to care one way or the other but, then, cats should all be named whatever the sound of a can of cat food opening sounds like.

So. Those are my verbal tics, oddities, and peculiarities. I have no idea why this suddenly occurred to me, but there it is. Embarrassing, perhaps, but better than running around a comic convention in nekomimi ears, so there's that.

Do you have any of these odd little verbal tics, and, if so, what are they?


Anonymous said...

I like verbal peculiarities and accents but have no particular academic knowledge about them. However, I was told when very young (perhaps the 2nd grade) that waRshed is a midwesternism. Any midwesterners in your childhood? I'm guessing this was picked up before the age of 15 - probably.


Anonymous said...

BTW, I enjoy the occasional departure from national and world affairs. The constant storm of horrible tends to wear me down and a little something interesting that doesn't lead to despair or anger is very welcome.

Jill - again

Big Daddy said...

Personally I have some New Yorkisms like when I go to the movies I wait on line instead of in line and I have some distinct terms for Italian American foods like a meatball wedge or a "regular" slice of pizza, although I don't go so far as calling meat sauce "gravy". Other than that the only noticeable inheritance from my Brooklyn born parents is a bone-deep hatred of the New York Yankees.
My son has picked up Britishisms from reading my car magazines and watching lots of BBC.
Back to the original "worsh" topic, I have a friend in his 50s who is that rare bird, a native Oregonian (born in Tualatin, and he calls our local mall Warshington Square, although this may be a hangover from Mid-Western parents.

FDChief said...

Jill: A lot of my growing up was in suburban Chicago, but I don't recall hearing a lot of "Midwest" at that time - the place I grew up was very much a sort of transient-bedroom community for corporate gypsies like my father. Not a lot of actual "midwestern" character.

I wonder if I picked it up in the service. We DID have a lot of guys that came from various little towns that had actual regional accents.

And you may have noticed that I have pretty much stopped writing about politics or the sorts of "world affairs" that show up in our domestic politics. I really have nothing to say that isn't a fulminating, furious rant, and who the hell wants to read that? All it does is raise my blood pressure, and I can do that by holding my breath and have about the same effect on the Damn American Public.

So when I do post - which I'm finding that I do a lot less and I'm fine with that - I'm tending to post more about personal issues and incunabulae I find entertaining or interesting.

FDChief said...

BD: The oddball "worsh" thing seems to have a couple of local source areas - it wouldn't surprise me that there were Oregon locals that had picked it up.

And I have a wonderful story about Warshington Square. One of my thesis advisors was a local kid - his family was the "Burns" of the "Burns Brothers" truck stops (gone now, but formerly in Troutdale and downtown Portland along Grand and MLK when 99 was the main drag from LA to Seattle...). Anyway, he says that when he was growing up in Tualatin in the Fifties he and his high school buddies used to race around through the filbert groves all across the Tualatin Valley, and they always used to get this HUGE laugh out of pulling up to this ass-end-of-nowhere intersection where a billboard stood in front of the acres of empty grove land that read in huge bold letters: "WATCH PROGRESS PROGRESS!"

The intersection was SW Hall Boulevard and Oleson Road...

Leon said...

For some reason I use the American pronunciation of "z". Don't know why, I'm a true red commie in every sense of the word otherwise.

rangeragainstwar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa said...

This is a fun idea. I'm sure I have these verbal peculiarities, but none come to mind just now.

Just I s'pose my mother's Britishisms and just plain ole irreverencies like, "lord love a duck;, "like water off a duck's back"; "Jesus H. Christ" ("Homer"?)

But, I've submitted your "worshing" to the NPR program "A Way With Words", a weekly program that addresses great stuff like this.

Mistah Jim uses the SW PA/SE OH, "needs washed", vs. "needs washing", or "needs to be washed." Maddening.

In fact, forensic grammarians have helped solve crimes via narrowing down the district from which the suspect came.

(BTB: I ixnayed the previous transmission as it did not seem at all right to have J's pix next to it.)

Syrbal/Labrys said...

I used to worsh clothing, too. I picked it up here in Wash(Worsh)ington as a child -- but merciless harassment of me when I did it by a roommate from Massachusetts drove it out of me. (Odd that a state famed for dropping "r" is so incensed by a spare one in Western speech, no?)

I say "holy cats" when I am trying to be polite, and "fuck me to tears" when I am not.